The Archaeology Training Forum (ATF) Award recognises excellence in training, learning and professional development. It is open to organisations and individuals in both the paid and voluntary sectors and aims to promote the value of training to the discipline as a whole. This year, the award was presented to the Thames Discovery Programme in recognition of its work with volunteers recording the archaeology of the Thames Foreshore over the last five years. The Programme provides a practical solution to a real archaeological problem; in this case the identification and recording of vulnerable remains exposed by the tide, and has been designed to be responsive to the different training needs of the volunteers. In some cases, it has helped individuals kick-start their careers in archaeology but has also provided a range of social, educational and health benefits to participants not looking for a permanent move into archaeological work. The judges were particularly impressed by the project's coherent set of objectives and benefits and felt that it clearly demonstrated the benefits of partnership working between the professional and volunteer sectors.
This is the third year that the ATF has presented its Training Award at the IfA Conference, with previous winners including the Nautical Archaeology Society, Cotswold Archaeology and the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The ATF is keen to publicise and promote good practice in training, learning and professional development and a call for nominations for the 2014 Award will be issued later this year.